Arachnophobia

You show up when I least expect it,

where I least expect it,

maybe because I least expect it.

Like you’ve been watching.

Waiting.

You scheming little fucker.

 

You make me go put on my boots,

find a pair of gloves,

and wad layers and layers of kleenex.

So many I worry I won’t know if I got you.

(not that I believe I can get you,

because even with all my armour the thought of touching you makes me want to scream

and maybe cry and run away)

But I can’t just let you stay there

—or worse, let you disappear.

 

I try logic:

Who’s bigger? 

(me)

Who’s more afraid? 

(also me)

 

I try empathy,

because maybe you have a family

and they’ll wonder why you don’t come home tonight.

(except ohgod don’t think about more

and also, I think you eat your young)

 

I try courage,

because I’m a grown-ass woman and fear shouldn’t paralyze me.

Plus I live alone and no one will kill you for me.

 

Maybe if I’m fast.

Maybe if you don’t move.

(don’t move don’t move please don’t move)

Maybe if I get you before I can think about it—

Hah. 

All I’ve done is think about it.

 

At last it’s the thought that forces my hand

—literally, physically, forces my hand— 

the thought of finding you later in my clothes, my shower, my bed

Better to kill you now.

Because staring at you some more probably won’t solve anything.

 

Somehow my hand goes forward,

and even as you leap up and try to swallow me whole,

I get you.

Or at least I think I do.

I’m too afraid to look

and there are too many kleenexes for me to feel the squish.

(ohmygod I can't handle the squish)

After a few deep breaths I’ll check, just for my peace of mind,

and then I’ll run to the bathroom and flush your corpse and congratulate myself on a job well done.

Well, done

But it’s not over yet, because where there’s one…

 

See what you did?

 

You’ve got me checking all the corners,

scanning the carpet,

searching the ceiling,

holding my breath when I look straight up

in case you’re descending toward my face.

 

You’ve got me flailing at every tickle,

every stray hair, every itch.

Convinced it’s your posse out for revenge.

 

You’ve got me bolting out of a dead sleep,

sure I saw you running up and down the wall above my head.

Sure you came back, and now you’re the size of my fist.

Break out the flashlight, strip all the bedding.

Wish to hell I lived in Antarctica.

 

It’s irrational, arachnophobia.

 

But try telling that to my heart attack.

© 2016

copyright 2019 © Jay Allisan

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